Catching Up part 4
By Dave on Friday, August 12th 2005 12:12 am
In search of bass....
I play guitars that are hand made by a Canadian Luthier named Neil Bryan. He is a super nice guy, a great craftsman, and his prices are very reasonable. Back in the Spring of 04 he asked me to help him beef up his web presence to try to bring in more business. The tough economy in the US, the bad exchange rate, increases in material costs, and the competitive nature of his business were taking a financial toll despite the fine work he does.
Since cash was tight for him we agreed that a trade was in order. A new site
in exchange for a basic bass. Just a plain alder body with a simple finish and
pau ferro neck. He sent me a picture of his template for a sort of modern
version of a "Jazz" bass. Looked cool to me so I went to work on the site.
Catching Up part 3
By Dave on Thursday, August 11th 2005 12:04 am
As 2005 began a collection of demos was in place. Bryan had a CD of my
material and was working on drum parts for the first couple of pieces. In the
meantime I had 2 other projects to work on. In January I recorded a couple songs
Gino had asked me to play on for his solo CD. Gino has become very much
interested in World Fusion over the last few years. As a guitarist my right hand
sucks , so in
order to get my chops up for the nimble jazzy soloing much woodshedding was
required before pressing the record button. In the end though I think the pieces
came out pretty well.
The next project on my plate was a request from my mother. A couple of years ago my wife, who plays flute, and I surprised my parents with a CD of holiday music for Christmas. Well she wanted a follow up CD for her 60th birthday. This little EP titled "Simple Gifts" took most of the Spring to complete. Below are a couple of pieces off it. Most of the material isn't my usual fair but Mom really likes it. Had we had done Rush's "La Villa Strangiato" and Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise" arranged for flute and acoustic guitar it wouldn't have made anyone happy.
New Echolyn Record: Yay!
By Dave on Tuesday, August 9th 2005 10:45 pm
I preordered a copy of the new Echolyn album last week. Up on their website there are some video clips of the writing session. Sounds like some good material to me. The title track takes a melody from the finale of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Strangely enough I ripped the same melody in a phrase of the guitar solo to "Pleiades". Then again who doesn't steal from Stravinsky a little now and then.
I also picked up Ray Weston's (Echolyn vocalist, bassist) solo album "This is my Halo". I'd been meaning to get this for awhile. Been listening to it in the car the last couple of days. There is some really great material on there. Ray has a good ear for unusual and beautiful melodies.
And to complete my Echolyn purchase I picked up the reissue of "As The World". I got the original back in the 90s but this one came with a DVD of them playing live right before the record came out so I had to get it.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a pretty big fan of Echolyn's music. In fact their last release "mei" is my favorite CD ever.
Catching Up part 2
By Dave on Tuesday, August 9th 2005 9:52 pm
So I left off in 2003 with some preliminary work on ideas for a new Electrum
record. While we were making decent progress from the fall of 03 through mid 04
it did become clear to me that I would have time to continue to work on my own
material as well. Much of this new material are leftover bits of things that
were not used on any of the Electrum songs.
Now back to this percussionist who had so
foolishly volunteered for
this most un-prestigious gig. His name incidentally is Bryan Powers.
As I mentioned in part 1 we were introduced by our mutual friend Lenny who is
the IT/Networking guru at the software shop I work at. Just from talking to him
a couple of times it was clear we shared a lot of the same influences and he
enjoys the playing of a lot of the same drummers I do. So it seemed like a good
fit. But since I was still short on material for a full release and had work to
do with Electrum I didn't want him to spend a lot of time cranking out drum
tracks till I had a full CD of material and was sure I would publish it.
So in 03 and 04 some new pieces came together. The first is a song tentatively titled "The Water Discipline" (see Dune novels). It is based on what was originally a big chunk of the middle section of "Seven Falls, Eight Rises" from the Second Electrum CD. I elected to cut it out of that piece to make it a tad more concise. Its got a hypnotic groove and a gentle melody and I'm thinking it might make a nice closer for the record.
Catching Up part 1
By Dave on Tuesday, August 9th 2005 2:12 am
Hello... er... is this thing on?
Well, ok then.
I guess the first thing to do is bring you up to date on this whole solo album thing. The impetus for this project started back in early 2001 as I was waiting for Gino and Joe to finish up their rhythm tracks for Standard Deviation. While I was waiting I wrote and recorded a piece called "Pleiades" to test out some new home studio gear I had bought in anticipation of tracking guitars for the aforementioned Electrum record. Since I had intended the melody to be vocal it wasn't going to fit with what the band was doing so I set it aside for later use. Then Gino and Joe came through with the rhythm tracks so I spent the rest of 2001 on that project.
In 2002 the band took a breather (largely due to Gino being out of commission after a serious car accident and Joe having tendonitis problems in his elbow). In the hiatus I just kept writing music. The early pieces included a short fun piece called "Internal Combustion", a 15 minute piece that I haven't come up with a title for yet, and a bizarre little grunge-jazz piece called "Picnic at the Slag Heap". In a lot of ways these pieces were studies in instrumental composition for me. I worked at trying to write pieces that used fewer musical ideas while developing those ideas with different variations. I also started to focus a whole lot more on melody than I have in the past because I figure it doesn't matter how many crazy rhythms I bang out in 13/8 if there isn't something melodically for the listener to grab onto and take away from the piece. Though I admit I still can't seem to lay off playing in crazy time signatures most of the time.